CCRIF provides US$2.2 million for relief and recovery efforts of the La Soufrière volcano eruption

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View of La Soufriere volcano from Belmont Observatory [ Photo: Roderick Stewart, UWI-SRC/MVO]

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands — The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Financing Facility (CCRIF) has provided financial support in the form of a grant of US$2,209,000 (approximately EC$6.0 million) to the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines following the eruption of the La Soufrière Volcano.

This support to the government has been made possible because CCRIF operates as a developmental insurance company, whereby our members have our commitment to support them in times of crises; seek out opportunities to enable them to enhance their resilience to current and future natural hazards; engage donors and collaborate on programmes designed to reduce vulnerability; negotiate the best prices for reinsurance; and advance disaster risk management and ecosystems-based solutions for the betterment of the peoples of the Caribbean and Central America in keeping with Agenda 2030 and the thrust to leave no one behind,” said, CCRIF chief executive officer, Isaac Anthony.

CCRIF believes that this support will provide much-needed liquidity to respond to the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Although CCRIF does not currently offer cover for volcanic eruptions it believes that as the dedicated disaster risk financing facility in the region, it has a moral obligation to respond as best as possible to the needs of its members when confronted with such dire circumstances. St Vincent and the Grenadines has been a member of CCRIF since the inception of the Facility in 2007.

CCRIF extends its sympathies to the government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines recognizing the devastating impact of this disaster on the people and communities in the north of the island, their infrastructure, homes, and the psychosocial impacts being experienced by the general population.

Last month, CCRIF also provided a small grant in the amount of US$17,000 to the UWI Seismic Research Centre (SRC), to purchase new communication and ground deformation equipment to be added to those already deployed in St Vincent, increasing the SRC’s capacity to understand the volcano’s eruptive processes and to better monitor it and be able to provide advanced warning of hazardous activity.

In 2007, CCRIF was formed as the first multi-country risk pool in the world and was the first insurance instrument to successfully develop parametric policies for natural catastrophes. CCRIF limits the financial impact of natural hazard events to the Caribbean and Central American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a policy is triggered. The Facility is a working example of an effective disaster risk financing instrument and one of a suite of such instruments available to governments to assist in post-disaster recovery and to help close the protection gap.

CCRIF is working to bring new parametric insurance products to market for drought and the agriculture sector and will give consideration in its new strategic planning cycle, starting this year, to providing coverage for volcanic eruptions considering that there are 19 live volcanoes in the Eastern Caribbean, with every island from Grenada to Saba subject to the direct threat of volcanic eruptions.

Since the Facility’s inception, it has made a total of 50 payouts to 16 of its member governments, totalling approximately US$200 million on their tropical cyclone, earthquake and/or excess rainfall policies.

Eruption at La Soufriere on April 18. Photo: Thomas Christopher, UWI-SRC/MVO

Meanwhile, Seismic activity at La Soufrière Volcano continued the pattern established after the explosive activity Sunday, April 18. Small long-period and hybrid earthquakes continued to be recorded. No volcano-tectonic earthquakes, rockfalls or tremor have been recorded in the last 12 hours. The continuous GPS network has shown a change in the horizontal and vertical movement since the initial depressurization noted immediately following the April 9 explosive phase. The volcano continues to erupt. Its pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava domes. Explosions with accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, can occur with little or no warning, as reported by NEMO St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

La Soufriere St Vincent Scientific update – 19/04/21 6:00 pm: UWI Seismic Research Centre

  1. Seismic activity at La Soufrière continued the pattern established after the explosive activity yesterday evening.
  2. Small long-period and hybrid earthquakes continued to be recorded. No volcano-tectonic earthquakes, rockfalls or tremor have been recorded in the last 12 hours.
  3. The continuous GPS network has shown a change in the horizontal and vertical movement since the initial depressurization noted immediately following the April 9 explosive phase.
  4. The continuous GPS (Global Positioning System) network is used to track changes in ground shape on and around the volcano. As magma moves beneath the volcano, changes in pressure cause the volcano to change shape (inflate/deflate).
  5. The volcano continues to erupt. Its pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava domes.
  6. Explosions with accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, can occur with little or no warning impacting St Vincent and neighbouring islands.
  7. The volcano is at alert level Red.

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